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Auto News December 9-15 2013 | Nutson's News Factoids


Auto Central Louisville, KY December 15, 2013 Each week Larry Nutson, Senior Editor, New York Bureau of The Auto Channel, along with Steve Purdy and Thom Cannell from The Auto Channel Michigan Bureau give you easy to digest nuggets of the past week's automotive news you may have missed.

If you are a car nut like we all are, you can easily "catch up" on these stories as well as the past 17 year's 1,484,567 automotive news, automotive stories, articles, reviews, rants and raves by just searching for the subject you are interested in The Auto Channel's Automotive News Archive. Hey South Florida TV viewers, I know you are enjoying watching The Auto Channel's TACH-TV on channel 44 WHDT-TV Palm Beach (Cable 17 and 438, channel 9 Miami and channel 32 Fort Meyers-Naples, and thanks for the positive feedback....See you next week, LN

Automotive News December 9-15, 2013

* Two big news items about GM. First, the U.S. Treasury announced that it had sold its final shares in General Motors Co., leaving taxpayers with a $10.5 billion loss on the $49.5 billion bailout. The non-political Center for Automotive Research, along with most independent analysts, see that as a bargain considering what the cost of liquidating the company would have been. If the bailout had not taken place, a total automobile-industry shutdown from a liquidation of GM and Chrysler would have cut 2.63 million jobs from the U.S. economy in 2009. The move means the country’s largest automaker finally is free of government pay restrictions for top executives and can again pay dividends on its common stock.

*And with that, General Motors named Mary Barra, currently the automaker’s head of product development, as its next CEO, succeeding Dan Akerson, who will step down in January. She would be the first female chief executive of a major automaker. And, she is the first engineer at the helm since the early 1990s. Some call that breaking the glass ceiling, and some call it breaking the steel ceiling. We call it decidedly newsworthy. With the decision, the GM board separated the board chairman and CEO positions. Barra will get a seat on the board, but Director Theodore (Tim) Solso will succeed Akerson as chairman.

* The finalists for the North American Car and Truck of the Year were announced at an Automotive Press Association event in Detroit. Chevrolet Corvette, Cadillac CTS and Mazda3 are finalists for NA Car of the Year. Acura MDX, Chevrolet Silverado and Jeep Cherokee are finalists for NA truck/utility of the year. The winners of the 20th NACTOY awards will be announced on January 13th during the opening session of the 2014 North American International AutoShow in Detroit. Juried by independent U.S. and Canadian journalists the awards are most respected as not being influenced by advertising or other concerns.

* WardsAuto has named three diesels, a tiny 3-cyl. turbo and a battery-electric vehicle to its annual 2014 Ward's 10 Best Engines. The 20th annual Ward's 10 Best Engines (and the vehicles tested) are: 3.0L Supercharged DOHC V-6 - Audi AG (Audi S5), 3.0L Turbodiesel DOHC I-6 - BMW AG (BMW 535d), 6.2L OHV V-8 - General Motors Co. (Chevrolet Corvette Stingray), 2.0L Turbodiesel DOHC I-4 - General Motors Co. (Chevrolet Cruze Diesel), 83-kW Electric Motor – Chrysler Group LLC (Fiat 500e EV), 1.0L EcoBoost DOHC I-3 - Ford Motor Co. (Ford Fiesta), 3.5L SOHC V-6 - Honda Motor Co. Ltd. (Honda Accord), 2.7L DOHC H-6 - Porsche AG (Porsche Cayman), 3.0L Turbodiesel DOHC V-6 - Chrysler Group LLC (Ram 1500), 1.8L Turbocharged DOHC I-4 - Volkswagen AG (Volkswagen Jetta).

* All-new from the ground up, the 2014 Mazda3 was named "Car of the Year" by the editors of One of five finalists, which also included the new 2014 Mazda6 midsize sedan, the Mazda3 compact car is the second vehicle to earn this distinction.

* Also, the completely redesigned Mazda3 has been named the “Best Compact Car” for 2014, according to Yahoo! Autos.

* The 2014 Mazda6 has been named to Popular Science Magazine's annual Best of What's New Awards in the Auto category.

* Autoweek is out with their 2014 Best of the Best winners this week as well. Corvette again is honored as it beat out the Mercedes-Benz S550 and Jaguar F-Type for Best Car and Chevy Silverado beat all rivals for Best Truck. This is proving a very good season for GM and Chevrolet.

* Chrysler will recall some 2013 Chrysler 300, Dodge Charger and Ram 1500 vehicles equipped with a V6 engine, either all-wheel drive or 4-wheel drive and an 8-speed automatic transmission because the transmission could fail. About 4,200 cars and pickups in the United States and 1,400 in Canada are affected.

* David Strickland, the head of NHTSA, will depart in the near future. Strickland took over the top job in 2010 and has overseen development of the nation’s fuel efficiency program and various safety initiatives. He has been particularly involved in distracted driving efforts. Also, he tried to encourage Chrysler to recall Jeep vehicles that were prone to a fire in severer rear impacts even though they complied with all safety standards.

* The EPA said the average fuel economy of 2012 new vehicles sold in the United States increased by1.2 mpg to 23.6 mpg, an all-time high. The 1.2 mpg gain from 2011 models is the second-largest year-over-year gain in the past 30 years. EPA's preliminary figures suggest the fuel economy of 2013 new vehicles sold in the United States is expected to increase to 24.0mpg.

* Rumors continued to circulate this week that Ford CEO Alan Mulally may be offered the CEO post at Microsoft. Ford's board of directors will ask him next week what his intentions are.

* Honda announced this week its intention to introduce a second generation of the slow-selling Ridgeline pickup within the next two years and they showed some teaser artwork giving a hint at its profile. Unique in the market, this half-ton pickup is on a unibody platform. The new truck will be designed and built in the U.S.